Witness for the Prosecution

A DVD review from The Movie Snob.

Witness for the Prosecution  (B+).  This 1957 classic was directed by Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity) and based on a short story and play by Agatha Christie.  Charles Laughton (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) stars as Sir Wilfrid Robarts, a celebrated London barrister with a knack for winning impossible cases.  While he is convalescing after a heart attack, just such a case shows up on his doorstep—a murder case against a charming WWII vet named Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power, Rawhide).  His icy German war bride Christine (Marlene Dietrich, Morocco) is his only alibi, but she seems to have a secret agenda of her own.  It felt like the murder trial itself took up about half the film’s 116-minute running time, but the trial scenes are well done, and my interest never flagged.  Definitely worth seeing, Witness for the Prosecution was nominated for six Oscars, including a best supporting actress nod for Elsa Lanchester (The Bride of Frankenstein) as Sir Wilfrid’s overbearing nurse.  The DVD’s extras include the movie’s trailer and some moderately interesting footage of interviews with Wilder about the movie.

Mystery Street

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Mystery Street (B). My perusal of “Film Noir Volume 4” continued with this 1950 flick starring Ricardo Montalban (The Naked Gun) as a Boston detective hot on the trail of a killer. This movie actually plays like a forerunner of CSI, as the criminal investigation begins with the discovery of a skeleton on Cape Cod. The cops turn to a doctor at Harvard Medical School to help them decide whether a crime was committed, and then to catch the killer. Elsa Lanchester (Bride of Frankenstein) turns in an overwrought performance as a landlady who tries to make a few bucks off the crime, but otherwise this is not a bad movie at all.